THE  EARLY  YEARS

 

Merwan Irani in Poona in 1916.  Trimmed & colourzed by Anthony Zois.
Merwan Irani in Poona in 1916. Trimmed & colourzed by Anthony Zois.

Click on images and maps to enlarge them.

 

 

THE  BEGINNING

 

Meher Baba was born Merwan Sheriar Irani on 26th February 1894 in the city of Poona ( Pune ), British India. His surname indicated that the family was 'from Iran'.

He was the second child to his parents Sheriar M. Irani & Shireen D. Irani.

Merwan had 8 siblings ; Jamshed, Jal, Beheram, Manija & Adi.

( 3 died in childhood - Freni, Shirmand & Jehangir).

The family was of the Zoroastrian faith ( an ancient faith that originated in Persia, now Iran ) founded by Zoroaster.

 

To see more details of Meher Baba's family, click on the following link.

https://www.meherbabatravels.com/his-close-ones/family-trees-1/merwan-s-family/

 

               SHERIAR M. IRANI                             SHIREEN D. IRANI                        MERWAN S. IRANI

   Merwan's younger years were not out of the ordinary, although he had a keen interest in poetry and literature - from Shakespeare to the Persian Perfect Master Hafiz. He was very adept at sports whilst attending a Roman Catholic high school. He went onto to attend Deccan College.

 

Merwan ( left ) with his older brother Jamshed in Poona in 1916
Merwan ( left ) with his older brother Jamshed in Poona in 1916

 

   He led a normal childhood and showed no particular inclination toward spiritual matters.

 

 

This webpage will show the various homes, cafes & schools that Merwan Irani

( Meher Baba ) lived in & attended including his important meetings with Perfect Master Babajan and the other 4 Perfect Masters.

Later, his 7 years stay and guidance with Perfect Master Upasni Maharaj.

 

 

The 5 Perfect Masters of the Early 1900s

All images colourized by Anthony Zois.

POONA ( PUNE )

 

Early 1900s : Main Street Poona. Image colourized by Anthony Zois.
Early 1900s : Main Street Poona. Image colourized by Anthony Zois.

 

 

Pune, known as Poona until 1978, is the second largest city in the state of Maharashtra and the 7th most populous city in India, with an estimated population of 7.4 million as of 2020.

 

The Peshwars were the local rulers in the early 1800s who were later defeated by the British in Kirkee, north of Pune. The area was placed under the administration of the Bombay Presidency and the British built a large military cantonment to the east of the city in 1895.

 

Poona Municipality was established in 1858 & the railway line from Bombay to the city opened in the same year, run by the Great Indian Peninsula Railway (GIPR).

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pune

 

 

A special thank you for the assistance of Debbie & Peter Nordeen and also Laurel & Glenn Magrini with some map information.

 

MAPS

 

 1914 Poona area map showing Merwan Irani's district & places.  Map graphics by Anthony Zois.
1914 Poona area map showing Merwan Irani's district & places. Map graphics by Anthony Zois.
Merwan Irani's Poona district in the mid-1890s. Map graphics by Anthony Zois.
Merwan Irani's Poona district in the mid-1890s. Map graphics by Anthony Zois.
Present-day aerial map of Pune showing important places for Meher Baba marked by yellow markers. Map grahics by Anthony Zois.
Present-day aerial map of Pune showing important places for Meher Baba marked by yellow markers. Map grahics by Anthony Zois.

DAVID SASSOON GENERAL HOSPITAL

 

Meher Baba ( Merwan Irani ) was born at David Sassoon General Hospital, Poona. Image colourized by Anthony Zois.
Meher Baba ( Merwan Irani ) was born at David Sassoon General Hospital, Poona. Image colourized by Anthony Zois.

 

 

Merwan Sheriar Irani was born on 26th February 1894 at the Sassoon Hospital about 5 am Sunday morning. Shireen, Merwan's mother had her mother Golandoon was by her side during the night.

Shireen's labor pains started and a Catholic nun was summoned from her morning prayers. Golandoon sat near her daughter, watching anxiously. Sheriar waited outside the hospital room, continuously repeating God's name.

The hospital's night watchman made his rounds. As he struck the gong five times, the crying of a baby was heard. The birds increased their joyous notes as if to welcome the child, and even the sun seemed excited — eager to rise over the horizon.

Golandoon emerged from the room. "Sheriar, it's a boy!" she exclaimed, beaming. "You have another son!" Sheriar was filled with happiness and immediately rushed into the room to see his newborn child.

 

 

  Lord Meher Online Edition Page 108

 

---- continued

 

The relatives and neighbors soon came to the hospital to see the newborn child. They were overjoyed and admired the baby's beauty. "A full moon has arisen in Sheriar's house!" one person remarked. The joy that abounded in the hearts of all who saw the child was indeed most extraordinary, for the joy of that sacred day will last for ages to come. The atmosphere was filled with a wonderful freshness and spontaneity of goodness; and only Sheriar knew that the source of it was his child.

 

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 108

MEHER BABA LANE, PUNE

The exact details and dates of where the family resided when their second child was born and during his childhood are not known. But some believe Sheriar and Shireen were residing at the time at 816 Butler Mohalla (locality) in Poona.  The house was called Bhopla

( Pumpkin ) House because next to its entrance way was a large round stone resembling the shape of a pumpkin.  Across the nearby courtyard was a "wishing" well, which the locals considered auspicious.

 

 

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 106

 

MERWAN IRANI'S  1ST HOME  "PUMPKIN HOUSE"

816 Dastur Meher Road, Meher Mohalla Camp, Pune. The first house that Merwan Irani lived in.            Image colourized by Anthony Zois.
816 Dastur Meher Road, Meher Mohalla Camp, Pune. The first house that Merwan Irani lived in. Image colourized by Anthony Zois.

Postal address : 816 Dastur Meher Road, Meher Mohalla Camp, Pune 411101

 

 

With the infant in her arms, Shireen returned home in a tonga ( horse-drawn carriage ).

The news of Shireen's newborn son spread throughout the neighborhood, and those who went to see the infant came away wonderfully contented. When their eyes gazed upon the infant, they felt peaceful and forgot their cares and woes.

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 108

 

 

The child was given the Persian name Merwan, but his family always called him Merog.  Shireen loved Merwan intensely and thought of him as her firstborn. The infant nursed well and the bond between mother and son was strong.

 

** Merwan was the 2nd born child to Shireen & Sheriar.

 

On 2 January 1893, Shireen, at the age of fifteen, gave birth to a son who was named Jamshed after a Persian king . However, as she was too young to fully accept the responsibilities of motherhood, her older sister, Dowla, began caring for the baby.

Dowla and her husband, Faredoon Naoroj Irani, were childless and lived in the resort town of Lonavla not far from Poona, where they owned a restaurant near the railway station. As was the common custom among Zoroastrian relatives, Dowla and Faredoon accepted complete responsibility for the child and raised Jamshed as their own son.

 

Jamshed later in life married Khorshed R. Irani. They had no children of their own.

 

Lord Meher Online Edition Page 106

Image colourized by Anthony Zois
Image colourized by Anthony Zois

QUARTER GATE SQUARE, POONA

1900 Quarter Gate Square, Poona. Map graphics by Anthony Zois.
1900 Quarter Gate Square, Poona. Map graphics by Anthony Zois.
Sheriar Cafe corner on Quarter Gate Square, Poona.
Sheriar Cafe corner on Quarter Gate Square, Poona.
1900S : Sheriar's Cafe at Quarter Gate in Poona. Image colourized by Anthony Zois.
1900S : Sheriar's Cafe at Quarter Gate in Poona. Image colourized by Anthony Zois.
Merwan's family home in Pandita Ramabai Road next door to Sheriar Cafe at Quarter Gate Sq. section of Poona. Image colourized by Anthony Zois.
Merwan's family home in Pandita Ramabai Road next door to Sheriar Cafe at Quarter Gate Sq. section of Poona. Image colourized by Anthony Zois.

BABA'S  HOUSE, PUNE

Merwan Irani's later family home - 765 Dastur Meher Road, Meher Mohalla Camp, Pune. Image colourized by Anthony Zois.
Merwan Irani's later family home - 765 Dastur Meher Road, Meher Mohalla Camp, Pune. Image colourized by Anthony Zois.

Postal address : 765 Dastur Meher Road, Meher Mohalla Camp, Pune 411101

 

Merwan's family relaxing on the front screened porch. Image colourized & enhanced by Anthony Zois.
Merwan's family relaxing on the front screened porch. Image colourized & enhanced by Anthony Zois.

THE LOCAL PARSI AGIARY / TEMPLE

Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy Agiary on Dastur Meher Road -  Zoroastrian Temple in Poona.
Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy Agiary on Dastur Meher Road - Zoroastrian Temple in Poona.

 

 

1896

Merwan's sister Freni Sheriar Irani is born. She died aged 6 years old in 1905.

 

 

1898

Merwan's brother Shirmand Sheriar Irani is born but only lives for 7 months, dying in 1898.

 

 

1899

Merwan Irani aged 5 attends Pudumjee Gujarati School, Poona for 3 years.

 

 

1900

Merwan's brother Jehangir Sheriar Irani is born. He only lives for 2 years and dies in 1902.

 

 

1902 ; Sept.1st.

Merwan aged attends Sardar Khan Dastur Noshirwan Zoroastrian School, Poona.

 

 

1902 ; September 15th

Merwan's brother Jal Sheriar Irani is born. He lives for 79 years, passing away on 21st Feb.1982 in Poona.

 

1899 : ( L - R ) Merwan, sister Freiny & brother Jamshed photographed in a Poona studio. Image colourized by Anthony Zois.
1899 : ( L - R ) Merwan, sister Freiny & brother Jamshed photographed in a Poona studio. Image colourized by Anthony Zois.

 

 

1903 ; 31st August attends for 5½ years at this school.

 

POONA CAMP GOVT. ENGLISH SCHOOL,    later became 

ANGLO-URDU HIGH SCHOOL

 The school's facade has been refurbished since the eary 1900s.
The school's facade has been refurbished since the eary 1900s.

1908 - 20th June

Merwan's brother Beheram Sheriar Irani is born. He lives till 30th June 1974 in Poona ( 66 years old ).

1909 - January

ST. VINCENT'S HIGH SCHOOL

 

St. Vincent's High School, Poona. Image colourized by Anthony Zois.
St. Vincent's High School, Poona. Image colourized by Anthony Zois.

 

When Merwan first went to St. Vincent's High School he was 14 years and 11 months old on 4th January 1909.

He attends to this school for almost 3 years, leaving late 1911 for Deccan College after passing his entrance exams.

 

 

Late 1910

Late 1910 : Merwan Irani seated with the St.Vincent's Cricket Team with the winner's trophy. Image of Lord Meher V.1 - p. 179.
Late 1910 : Merwan Irani seated with the St.Vincent's Cricket Team with the winner's trophy. Image of Lord Meher V.1 - p. 179.
 Late 1910 : Merwan Irani seated with the St.Vincent's Cricket Team with the winner's trophy ( enlarged ).              Image colourization by Anthony Zois.
Late 1910 : Merwan Irani seated with the St.Vincent's Cricket Team with the winner's trophy ( enlarged ). Image colourization by Anthony Zois.

Late 1911

Late 1911 : Merwan Irani seated with the St.Vincent's Cricket Team with the winner's trophy . Image enhanced by Anthony Zois. Image courtesy of Lord Meher V.1 - p. 178
Late 1911 : Merwan Irani seated with the St.Vincent's Cricket Team with the winner's trophy . Image enhanced by Anthony Zois. Image courtesy of Lord Meher V.1 - p. 178
Late 1911 : Merwan Irani seated with the St.Vincent's Cricket Team with the winner's trophy ( enlarged ). Image colourization by Anthony Zois.
Late 1911 : Merwan Irani seated with the St.Vincent's Cricket Team with the winner's trophy ( enlarged ). Image colourization by Anthony Zois.
Postcard of Malcolm Tank Road in the 1910s in Poona. In the distance there is a crowd possibly gathering around Hazrat Babajan. It is here that she gave Merwan the kiss to his forehead which started His Advent. Original courtesy of Beloved Archives, NJ.
Postcard of Malcolm Tank Road in the 1910s in Poona. In the distance there is a crowd possibly gathering around Hazrat Babajan. It is here that she gave Merwan the kiss to his forehead which started His Advent. Original courtesy of Beloved Archives, NJ.

DECCAN  COLLEGE

December 1911 to Mid-1913

 

When Merwan first attended Deccan College, he was 17 years and 9 months old in December 1911.

Timeline chart created by Anthony Zois.
Timeline chart created by Anthony Zois.

 

 

Merwan  meets  Babajan

May 1913

 

  Hazrat Babajansitting under her neem tree in Poona. Image colourized by Anthony Zois.
Hazrat Babajansitting under her neem tree in Poona. Image colourized by Anthony Zois.

BUND GARDENS  &  MUTHA MULA RIVER

The Bund Gardens, Poona in the 1890s. Image colourized by Anthony Zois.
The Bund Gardens, Poona in the 1890s. Image colourized by Anthony Zois.
Mutha Mula River & Bund Gardens, Poona. Image colourized by Anthony Zois.
Mutha Mula River & Bund Gardens, Poona. Image colourized by Anthony Zois.
 1918 : ( L-R) Merwan ( Meher Baba ), Beheram (standing), Uncle Khodadad (Baba's paternal uncle), Jal ( standing ), Adi Jrn, Shireen and Jamshed.
1918 : ( L-R) Merwan ( Meher Baba ), Beheram (standing), Uncle Khodadad (Baba's paternal uncle), Jal ( standing ), Adi Jrn, Shireen and Jamshed.
 Main Street, Poona. Image colourized by Anthony Zois.
Main Street, Poona. Image colourized by Anthony Zois.
1918 : Close-up of Merwan from the family photo. Image enhanced & colourized by Anthony Zois.
1918 : Close-up of Merwan from the family photo. Image enhanced & colourized by Anthony Zois.
 Main Street, Poona. Image colourized by Anthony Zois.
Main Street, Poona. Image colourized by Anthony Zois.

1917 - '18